Fighting online pet scams - Pet Scam List
The growth of online pet scams is a troubling trend that has affected countless pet lovers worldwide. In a proactive response to this issue, Perfect Pets has partnered with an experienced team of local and international scam busters to provide a searchable list of pet scam websites. Together, we are committed to protecting pet lovers by offering an up-to-date list of confirmed fake sites, as well as an avenue to report suspicious ones.
The rise in Pet Scams
In line with global trends, Australians have lost millions of dollars to pet scams in recent years. These scams, a type of 'non-delivery' fraud, are defined as attempts to sell products that don't exist. They are run by highly organized crime syndicates who build authentic-looking websites in response to market trends and shortages - the huge increase in demand for pets during COVID was one of them. The scams are known as non delivery fraud, and are essentially products and pets that are sold online, but don't actually exist. You can learn more from our partners at Artists Against 419, an organisation dedicated to preventing internet fraud.
In the past five years alone, the number of fake websites and social media accounts has risen dramatically, with estimates suggesting that up to 95% of websites are set up purely to perform non-delivery fraud (across a range of industries). As we discussed in this article about puppy scams and breeder ID theft, the advanced scamming techniques developed to cash in on the demand during COVID haven't been set aside, and this highly sophisticated and damaging industry is sadly going from strength to strength.
The tragic impact
A staggering $45 million was reported lost by Australians in 2022 to non-delivery related fraud, up from $34 million in 2021 (across all industries). When it comes to pets, it's not just fake breeder websites that are the issue; but also pet couriers, and even fake vet and groomer sites have been spotted. The criminals behind these schemes employ intricate tactics, including using Australian bank accounts, to deceive and manipulate consumers.
Perfect Pets commitment
As a trusted platform with over 10 years of proven safety and reliability, Perfect Pets has become a go-to source for advice. With more than 10 million visitors and no recorded scams, we often receive inquiries from concerned individuals seeking guidance and support. This direct connection with pet lovers' concerns drives our ongoing commitment to help. While a single pet lover can lose tens of thousands of dollars in just one scam, it's more than money at stake; it's also the emotional trauma they go through, after investing time, money and emotion in what they believed to be a legitimate opportunity to welcome a pet into their home and family.
How to spot a scam
Awareness is key in protecting yourself from pet scams. Some things to look out for include:
- Poor spelling & grammar (though this is no longer as clear a red flag as it once was)
- An unusually large offering of animals and/or multiple breeds
- Prices that seem too good to be true
- Unusual or unsafe payment methods (e.g., crypto, gift cards)
When communicating with a breeder:
- Make sure you talk to the breeder - don't just message or email. Communicate on the telephone or better still via video chat (eg. facetime, zoom etc).
- Ask lots of questions, typically scammers know very little about what they're selling so detailed questions to gauge their knowledge.
- Legitimate breeders are aware of scams, and understand your concerns. They will not expect you to pay in an unsafe or unusual way (eg: crypto/gift cards).
- If you are asked to pay via PayPal, never pay via the family and friends option. And, keep in mind that PayPal will not guarantee a refund on a payment made for an animal.
- If the breeder you're speaking to doesn't want to send you photo identification it doesn't mean they aren't legitimate. Breeders are victims of scammers too, and scammers will sometimes pretend to be interested in a puppy or kitten to try to obtain breeder ID. Learn more about Breeder ID Theft here.
- Make sure you perform due diligence before purchasing a pet online by checking out our Advice to buyers and our advice on Finding a reputable breeder.
With the launch of our pet scam list and scam reporting feature, we hope to help curb the rise in pet scams. We urge our community to be vigilant, educated, and to use this new tool to help others to stay safe. Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of pets and their future families, offering guidance and safe connections through our list of fully verified reputable breeders as well as other pet service providers, and now with this crucial feature to alert and educate about pet scams.